Posted on October 31, 2019
For the longest time I have wanted to visit Fort Clinch and see what the State Park was like. For most of our trips we have gone as far as St Augustine, and not gone any further. Recently we did a trip to Cumberland Island and we took a detour along the coast and at my request we stopped at Fort Clinch.
Imagine a a flat image of a house (pentagon) with it’s roof pointing towards the ocean. That is the aerial view of Fort Clinch. The fort has double layers of outer walls, with a sunken interior courtyards, and 2-story buildings used as bunkhouses.
Walking up to the Fort you do not get the full impression of it size of it’s shape.
You enter over a drawbridge and through a long tunnel. Side doors flank the tunnel giving access to the space between the double wall where soldiers would position themselves to fire at the enemy.
Today Fort Clinch is part of the Florida State Parks and is an attraction that many visit. But like all forts it has it’s history
Back in the 1700’s the area was occupied by the Spanish, who then held the colonies. Situated at the entrance of the St Mary’s River and Cumberland Island, many nations occupied and fortified the area.
Around the end of the Seminole Wars, the United States began to build a fort, and in 1847 it was named Fort Clinch. The fort construction used approximately 5 million bricks to complete it.
In 1861 Confederate soldiers took command of the fort and during the Civil War proceeded to use it as a safe haven for blockade runners.
In March of 1862, the fort was abandoned and was later occupied by Federal troops in order to take control of the Georgia Florida waterways. Throughout the Civil War Fort Clinch was used as a Union base.
In 1898 the fort was abandoned and left to deteriorate. In the 1930’s during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps began the restoration of the fort. In 1935 the fort and land around it was purchased by the State of Florida to become what is now Fort Clinch State Park
During WW2, the fort was used as a communications and security post, and post war was opened back up to public viewing.
As you can see I was fascinated by the contrasting lights of the windows, rooms and passageways.
I was glad that we took the time to stop by and view this fort. I would certainly encourage you to stop by. The fort is interesting and there are lots of like tunnels and walkways to venture through. The courtyard is big and if you are there on the weekend you may catch a Civil War re-enactment.
This is a circle blog so click here to see what ___________ has for you this month has for you this month.
Posted on October 28, 2019
I will confess that this is going more than 30 minutes but I wanted to share the day at the island in one blog. For a while now I have wanted to take a trip to Cumberland Island. Where is it you may ask. Cumberland Island is situated on the very tip of Georgia and is is just across the river mouth from Fernandina Beach in Florida. Of course, we are at practically at the opposite tip of Florida, so it is a good 5 hour trip just to get out of Florida. We were heading to St Mary’s in Georgia. We arrived late afternoon after spending some time exploring Fort Clinch in Fernandina Beach. More about that later this week. St Mary’s has a ferry that travels from the town directly to Cumberland Island.
Why Cumberland Island? For the longest time I have heard and read about wild horses on the island. A bit of research also told me that there were also some ruins to visit. Those two items were my goal. We arrived at St Mary’s with enough time to check into our B&B called the Goodbread House. This was a quaint multi-roomed house that had different themed rooms and a lot of knicks and knacks. Our hosts were very friendly and got us settled into the Gable and Lombard room very efficiently. I will add that the bathroom was dedicated to Marilyn Munro and Elvis Presley. Such fun.
We had to go out for dinner and so we started to walk down the main street looking for different options and finally found ourselves at a place called 401. Out in the gardens they had live music while we waited for a table to come free. The music was awesome and they had a great selection of songs. Dinner was the best, and added to that, I was able to photograph this beautiful sunset.
8am and we are packed up and ready to head out to the island. We had to go and get our tickets at a local office and pay the fee to go on the island and then it was a 5 minute walk to the ferry where everyone was waiting. I was thinking way to many people but I am happy to say that the island was so big that we really did not encounter that many people.
My goal of course was to find the horses and see the ruins, and so we began our walk down the road towards the ruins. One thing I love about Northern Florida and Georgia is the Spanish Moss that covers the trees. It kind of gives that eerie kind of feeling. We had tried to plan out how much time it would take us to get around the course we had planned. 3-4 hours which would give us enough time to make it back to the 2:45 ferry.
The island is made up of various sectors of nature, the wooded area, the marshy area, the rolling dunes and the wide open beaches. We started off by walking through the wooded area, along a long road towards the ruins. While there was not a lot of color, every so often I would spot a flower or some autumn looking leaves.
We spotted our first horses as we walked towards the ruins. I was so excited. My horses were the tame kind of wild horses. Actually we were warned that if we had apples, not to show them to the horses. They were kind of pushy in their endeavor to get to your apples. These two did not do much more than eat grass and walk away from us. But still I was pretty stoked.
There were two horses at the entrance, one was slightly bigger than the other.
Our first view of Dungeness Ruins was as we passed the horses. History has it that this was the winter home of Thomas Carnegie. He lived there with his wife and 9 children. Soon after the home was constructed Thomas died. His wife Lucy and the family continue to live there. She made alterations to the house to make it bigger. In 1916 Lucy Carnegie passed away. In 1959 the house caught on fire and today only the ruins remain. We were able to walk around the house but could not go into the ruins. Based on the ruins, the house must have been spectacular in it’s day.
In front of the ruins is where I saw my third horse, once again eating grass. This horse did show a little more interest in us. I actually loved seeing the horse against the backdrop of these incredible ruins.
We walked beyond the ruins heading towards the marshy area. On our way we saw this pack of 3 horses, and just beyond that another 3 were working there way towards this group.
We continued down a pathway, through a walkway, down a slight incline, and there we were, walking along a boardwalk towards the marshland. It was so flat and had weaving waterways. It was great to see an Osprey overhead doing some fishing, and a Great Blue Heron hanging out in the water. Richard also got to see a Spoonbill wading through the water sifting through the sand to find some treats. We did not stay to long in this area before pushing on to the sand dunes.
It would be remiss to have an island habitat, without the carrion hunters and we came across 6 Black Vultures as we walked across the sand dunes. I love the Black Vultures. The are so elegant when compared to the Turkey Vulture, who in my opinion, is really quite ugly.
The soft sand gave way to the waters edge. We were asked to cross the dunes at designated points so as not to do damage to the beautiful dunes.
In front of us, was a view of the island beach, stretching beyond where I imagined we would need to go, until Richard said we were walking to where all the people were and that looked a long long way away.
The first casualty of the ocean that we came across was a Horseshoe Crab. Apparently they are not actually a true crab. Interestingly they apparently move to shallow waters during breeding season. The female can lay up to 120 000 eggs and then the male will come along and fertilize them. Sadly most of them do not make it as the shore birds eagerly snatch up the eggs.
The second interesting item found on the beach was what appeared to be a buoy. Clearly it had been around a while and was totally rusted in places.
The second casualty that I found was this perfectly formed crab body. Look at those pincers. I happened to spend some time before the boat left watching a couple of crabs fighting with each other. Those pincers are serious weapons.
As we move down the beach we noticed a huge flock of terns hanging out at the edge of the water. As Richard walked along I was hoping that the birds would take off. They kept just moving to the end of the group. No major take off.
Just beyond the sand dunes and the sea grasses we found a fallen log. It was there that we ate our picnic lunch that the B&B has secured for us – cold meat stuffed inside pita bread, a packet of chips and some peanut butter crackers and some ice cold water. It was so peaceful and I was grateful to stop for a short while.
Heading across the boardwalk the stretched along the dunes I spotted a bit of color.
A close up on the sea grass normally known Sea Oats. The Sea Oats is a subtropical coastal grass typically found on sand dunes and beach areas.
And just like that we were heading back into the shaded wooded pathways that lead back to the campsites and the ferries. Oh yes you can camp on the island, but be warned, it is rustic camping. There is no electricity and showers are heated with a solar bag system. From what I have heard, when the sun goes down the mosquito’s and no see ems come out to play. Thankfully we were not camping, because they do love me.
One of the highlights of the trip heading back to the mainland was Richard spotting a dolphin. The pictures are not perfect, but it was an amazing moment. The dolphin was swimming just ahead of the boat and kept popping up out of the water. It traveled with us for quite a way before it dived deep. Trying to time when the dolphin would appear was hard, but it was worth hanging over the edge of the boat to see this beautiful mammal.
45 minutes later we are back at St Mary’s and ready to disembark, drop off the cooler bag, and head out. Next stop was Vilano Beach in St Augustine. However, look out for our visit to Fort Clinch later this week. We had stopped at the fort on the way up to St Mary’s.
Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Jess from Crystal of Crystal Bella Photography and see what she has for you this month. I am pretty excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world. I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages
Posted on September 30, 2019
Today is one of those months where I have two blogs go live in one day. Earlier on I shared some time in Central Park, New York. This blog I am going to share our trip to Staten Island.
For every foreigner, New York is that illusive place you hear about, along with Miami, and LA. It’s in the movies, it in books, you hear about it on television and you feel like you have to visit. I have seen Miami. I have now seen New York. LA will have to be on the trip down under.
Along with New York comes the Statue of Liberty, the welcoming beacon to all of those immigrants so many years ago, and one that today’s immigrants also look to and are thankful for the opportunity to be in the USA. I am one of those immigrants.
While we are immigrants, all of my family still live in South Africa. This trip was about spending time with my brother and his wife while they were in the USA. Today’s adventure is just a small part of our day. We were going to Staten Island, Dumbo, Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, World Trade Center and the 911 Memorial Site.
So we were up early and off to the train station. The train arrived and there was standing room only. This was the early morning commute. We were squashed into the compartment like sardines in a tin. It was hot, sweaty and I felt profoundly grateful that I did not have to do this every day, and very sorry for those that did. And yes, the compartment was air-conditioned but honestly – way to many people.
In the pre-planning phase of the trip, we had looked at the cost of the trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the number of people who visit it on a daily basis and the length of time it took. None of us wanted to go down that avenue. We also had a jam packed day of activities and this was just a small part of it.
So a tip to any traveler who wants to see the Statue of Liberty but does not want the cost, crowds and length of time it takes, take a ferry boat ride to Staten Island. It is free. It also goes past the Statue of Liberty. If you have a good camera and a great zoom lens you will get some fairly decent images. I guess here is the time to make my stupidity confession. While packing my camera lens, I somehow packed my heavy macro lens instead of my 300mm zoom lens. Bummer, but at least my lens I used for the trip was a 24-135mm so I had some level of zoom in it.
The trip takes about 40 minutes each way and one of the goals was to get the New York Skyline. I feel like that is what this blog is about mainly. I managed to get one I was happy with and you will see that I have edited it in a number of different ways. The image above is linked to my maiden name and so I could not resist taking the Hudson River. New Jersey on one side and New York on the other.
Above is my color edit of the New York skyline. The day was overcast and we had had a few drops of rain. No fun for a photographer but it did add to the mood of the black and white images.
Ellis Island, so history goes, was in use from 1892 to 1924 and was used as the immigration access point for over 12 million immigrants. Annie Moore was the first immigrant to step through the doors of Ellis Islands immigration center. Annie, age 15, was traveling to the USA with her 2 younger brothers in order to meet up with her parents. All immigrants needed to successfully pass a medical test proving that they had no illnesses. They also had to pass an interview proving that they could support themselves in this new country and prove that they had sufficient funds with them. After 1917 they also had to prove that they could read. The island had two nicknames, “Island of Hope” and in contrast “Island of Tears”. For if you did not pass any of the tests you were sent home. From all accounts families got separated at this process. According to the records April 17, 1907 was Ellis Islands busiest day. 11747 people were processed through the facility that day.
I always thought the Statue of Liberty was built as a beacon welcoming foreigners to it’s shore, but reading history today tells me otherwise. According to history the statue of liberty’s origins lay in France. Edouard de Laboulaye presented the idea to the sculptor Frederic Bartholdi. Bartholdi designed, raised funds and chose the location of where the statue would be situated. This statue was to be a gift from the people of France
The statue was built in a number of stages and shipped to the USA. Gustave Eiffel, famously known for the Eiffel Tower, was hired to build the internal construction of the the statue, an iron grid structure would give support to the statue. The outer form was constructed from copper which has oxidized and turned green over the years. The statue is meant to represent the freedom and liberty of the United States Government. She was designed and modeled after the goddess Liberatas. Enlightenment of the world is symbolically represented in the torch that she holds up high, and the tablet represents the law. The tablet has an inscription date in Roman numerals of July 1776. The chains at her feet are said to represent breaking free from tyranny.
Above is my silhouette version of New York City. Black and white city images add character for me and are definitely one of my favorite ways to see a city.
In the distance is the view of Jersey Island, New York City and Brooklyn to the right with a slight glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Before we knew it we were looking forward and at the arrival point to Staten Island.
Staten Island is not a small island, and we did not have the time to explore much there but we did get to walk along the waterfront for a short bit of time.
As we were arriving so ferries were preparing to leave.
The waterfront area was colorful and interesting and we quickly found a Starbucks to get our early morning java.
Below was one of my favorite views on Staten Island, and so while my brother and sister in law were visiting the pharmacy, I took the opportunity to head back to this area and take some photo’s of this statue.
Of course, for me, I love to see this kind of artwork in black and white so I have detoured from color here to fill my need to see city scenes in monochrome.
This was the last hazy shot from Staten Island of New York City before we headed back to the ferry to do the 40 minute trip back to the mainland and on to Dumbo.
Clearly people love to have fun out on the water and it was great to see these jet ski’s out and about.
Some interesting facts about the Statue of Liberty:
The green exterior of the Statue of Liberty is copper that has changed color due to oxidation.
If you are up to climbing the statue right to the top of the crown, plan on being fit, you will need to navigated 354 steps. In fact I am not sure that you are allowed to do that anymore.
The statue’s face is supposed to represent the mother of the sculptor Bartholdi.
Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were most likely to see the Statue of Liberty first.
The total weight of the statue is approximately 225 tons.
The spikes or rays sticking out from the crown are supposed to represent the seven continents and seven seas of the world.
My last interpretation of the New York City Skyline – gritty and grainy. New York City has it’s own unique character and a dense population. This is added to by the sheer volume of visitors to the city. Some areas I found a little dirty and other areas I loved.
As we approached the landing bays again, I was struck by the multi-levels of this city. Amidst the tall glass structures are these small buildings and at times I felt the view upwards looked a little like stepping stones.
The docking area has these protection areas built between each docking station made up by numerous posts of wood, preventing ships from bumping up against each other.
We are out of the harbor and our view right now is of Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, we are heading there and yes we are going to cross it. So it is off to the train station again to catch the “under the river” train to the town of Dumbo, where we will begin our walk to the bridge.
This was a once in a lifetime shot for me, as the train was coming in. I attempted it a couple of other times and did not get what I was looking for.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. Mindy Sauvageau is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.
Posted on September 30, 2019
It’s July, it’s the hottest day in New York City and yours truly is not in air-conditioning, no!, we are walking through Central Park. Welcome to 30 minutes in the Life and this is mine plus a few additional minutes 🙂
You may remember that I did a quick overview of the New York City trip. Honestly, that was 15 of about 1500 images. Since the Rochester training trip my life has got a little hectic and honestly I feel like I do not have the time to go out. I have become in the last couple of months a workaholic because I know I have a deadline to pull together a brand new system and ensure that it is ready to go live before the end of the year. No pressure here, but it makes it a little harder to get out and go walking in the city looking for photo’s to take. Added to that South Florida is miserably hot.
Part of this day we planned to walk in Central park and then head to the Natural History Museum to cool off and spend the hottest part of the day inside there. I think a million other people had the same idea. So off we go, water in hand, camera bag on my back, and a bus ticket in my hand. We arrive at Central Park and need to cross the road. I have this image in my mind of looking up a New York City street with iconic taxi’s in my view. Moving and taking pics is not working so I get to the side of the road and stop to get my images.
Lesson one. When you are out with people who are not taking the same photographs as you, keep an eye on them. Oh yes, I lost them. Of course, they did not keep an eye on me either. They wandered off, not waiting for me. I went down the way I thought I had seen Richard go. Walked down this off beaten pathway with a stranger who also seemed to be “lost” and eventually came out at the through road.
Crossing the road, I discovered I was in Shakespeare’s Garden. No family but the garden was really pretty. So I meandered around the gardens, which I might add were really tranquil and finally decided that since I had not found them I should go back to the through road and try and figure out where the castle was.
I did not find the maps terribly user friendly. The WhatsApp group had gone silent despite a number of messages being sent by yours truly. Finally I stop at a concession cart and ask for directions on how to get to the castle. The seller gives me directions and off I go. Once again I am following a road blindly. There were no directional maps nearby and my gps now tells me I have a long walk around the lake, so I plod on.
Just as I am passing Romeo and Juliet and then a major row of toilets, my phone rings (which it could have done far earlier) and it is Richard asking me where I am.
Umm, I am on the other side of the lake looking at Belvedere Castle. Yip. Probably if I had looked really closely, I could have seen them all glaring at me. However, If I had gone the way they had gone I would not have seen then next few beautiful views.
Off I plod again. I say plod because my feet are kind of sore already. Remember that post op feet are still not what they should be. They still get sore pretty quickly.
Finally I arrived the Belvedere Castle, to the faces of 3 unhappy people. Oh well, you can’t win them all. At least I got the spectacular (in my mind) front view of the castle over the lake. I certainly enjoyed the views from the tower looking over central park. Richard told me to walk through the castle, while my brother and his wife went walking down by the lake.
Once I was done we headed down to the lake and enjoyed the cooler tree covered pathways.
We walked back around towards the castle and up onto the lower level to take the short cut back to the main road. Apparently the short cut that I should have taken. I traveled the long road.
Just so you would listen
I traveled the long road
Just me and my intuition
They asked why such a drastic change
I just know that my decision will put me on track
Feel good inside again
Maybe even laugh again
Hey yeah yeah, I am going to travel
Richard went off to find the bathroom, and while I was waiting who should arrive but my brother and his wife. So we waited for Richard before heading off again. As you can see I quickly got behind. This set the tone for the rest of the stay. They walked ahead, I meandered, stopped, smiled and caught up. They rested while waiting for me, so the minute I caught up they moved on – no rest for the weary that was for sure.
We did head back to central park another day but the upper end of it. It wasn’t as interesting as the lower end to be honest, but there was one stop we made at a pretty lake.
So that was Central Park, done and dusted. Did I like it, yes although it was a little stressful and seriously hot. I think we were all overheated. Next stop was the Natural History Museum. Richard is not a big museum fan and after 60 minutes I got a call to say he was leaving. I kind of headed out as well. We stopped grabbed some lunch and shade, tried the WhatsApp again for the other two but no luck, so we headed down to Times Square and Grand Central Station.
Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog. We have a number of new ladies join the 30 minutes group, making us now 11 active bloggers, and I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. I am pretty excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world. I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages. If you have time I have a second blog going simultaneously of our trip to Staten Island.
Posted on September 6, 2019
It’s September 6 and it is a bitter sweet day for me. Bitter because my piece of gold is not with me, and sweet because the memories do not go away. Happy birthday Mom, you are my piece of gold and I love all those sweet memories that I carry in my heart.
Hello and thank you for indulging me my moment of memories. Today the theme is one we have done before but honestly it is such an important reminder of what so many people experience this silently. It is heartbreaking when we loose a loved on, even more so when it is a child. “September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month, so for all of September we’ve decided to team up and join forces with @thegoldhopeproject to help spread awareness!!
If you or your family have been affected by cancer then you know how hard it is to walk that journey. I could not imagine having my child suffer from cancer. It was hard enough watching my boy go through surgery after surgery for 9 years for a bone disorder, but at least I knew that, unless something went horribly wrong in surgery, he would be going home with me. Yes, we had long recuperation periods but that boy is now 30 years old and I am so grateful that I have had the opportunity to walk that journey with him.
For those of you that don’t know, The Gold Hope Project is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of photographers who aim to provide free portrait sessions to families battling pediatric cancer. As photographers, we understand how truly important it is to document our children’s lives, and what better gift to give to parents going through such a tremendously difficult time!
In addition to pairing young warriors with photographers, @TheGoldHopeProject also works to raise funds for pediatric cancer research! If you want to participate with us this month, here are just a few things you can consider:
1. Tag your Instagram gold photos with the #TeamUp4GoldKids (for features) and #theGoldHopeProject (to spread awareness). You will have a chance to be featured on one of the MANY participating hubs for the month of September!
2. Go to goldhopeproject.com and see how you can apply to be a registered photographer!
3. Donate! It DOES make a difference!
Two weeks ago, when Richard asked if I wanted to go to the beach to watch the sunrise I wavered. He wanted to go out on his paddle board for a while. While I hate waking up in the morning, I am always keen to watch the sunrise, I just wish I did not have to wake up to do it.
I was not thinking about the theme when I took these images but this really worked out perfectly for this month’s gold theme.
Here are a few Childhood Cancer Facts
– Cancer is the #1 disease killer of kids in the US.
– Childhood Cancer is more than a dozen types of cancers combined including tumors, leukemia and lymphomas.
– The causes of most childhood cancer is unknown. Childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
– Many childhood cancer treatments are the same that existed in the 1970s.
– 1 out of 8 children with cancer will not survive.
– Childhood cancer research receives 4% of the annual budget from the National Cancer Institute. That equals 195 million for all 12 types of childhood cancer. Adult cancers receive the renewing 96% of the budget.
– 9 children are diagnosed with a brain tumor everyday.
– 43 children are diagnosed with cancer each day.
Help to be a part of highlighting Childhood Cancer Awareness and remember you can:
1. Tag your gold photos with the #TeamUp4GoldKids (for features) and #theGoldHopeProject (to spread awareness). You will have a chance to be featured on one of the MANY participating hubs for the month of September!
2. Go to goldhopeproject.com and see how you can apply to be a registered photographer!
3. Donate! It DOES make a difference!
Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post. This is a circle blog. From the sneak peak images I have seen, you are going to want to follow the circle. Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Elizabeth of It’s Still Life Photography by Elizabeth Willson and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.